Increase your happiness and productivity – Feng Shui your desk
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that believes your environment has a profound effect on many areas of your life, from your wealth and prosperity, to your health, relationships, and even the success of your career.
According to Feng Shui, you should arrange the items in your surroundings in a way that promotes the flow of positive energy (or chi), as this will bring good fortune to the various areas of your life. As Feng Shui can be used to boost your concentration and creativity, allowing good chi to flow in the workplace can be said to also increase morale and productivity levels.
Vanessa Jones from Wall Art Prints says: “Feng Shui is an ancient art form of harnessing energy by arranging your work or home space in a certain way and incorporating certain elements. By directing energy flow, also known as chi, you can influence certain aspects of your life. Furthermore, the psychological impact of strategic interior décor can have a profound effect on a person. Many people are now turning to ancient philosophies to help guide how they set their home up, and Feng Shui is an age honoured traditional belief system that is still adopted by many today.
“Feng Shui offers practical principles to instantly add more harmony in the workplace. Once the home environment is more harmonious, peaceful and tranquil, this has no other choice but to permeate throughout the other areas of a person’s life; their work performance, relationships… even waiting in the supermarket queue. Those practical examples can include adding more lighting, symmetry between wisely placed ornaments, the right mixture of patterns and elements, and plants and carefully curated colours. One of the simplest ways to put Feng Shui into effect in the workspace, particularly in an office, is to incorporate pleasing artwork of certain elements: water, air, earth, metal and fire.”
“Although addressing the placement of items on your desk is one of the easiest ways of practicing Feng Shui in the workplace, as an employer, you can also promote positive energy by encouraging your staff not to leave clutter on their desks by providing them with adequate storage space (such as cupboards and draws), and entice them to print less by storing and sharing documents online.” – Todd, Flowers24hours.co.uk
As plants enhance the ‘wood’ element of Feng Shui (which is the chi of new beginnings), bringing more greenery into the workplace with interior plants is an easy way of incorporating Feng Shui. Even if you don’t necessarily believe in the benefits of Feng Shui, plants and flowers have been proven to be great for our health and well-being. The fact that they lower the levels of CO2, dust, mould, and bacteria in the air (which can cause headaches, nausea, dry eyes, and other unpleasant symptoms), is just one of the ways that plants improve our moods and productivity. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Queensland in 2014, found that office plants boosted productivity by 15%.
A less cluttered desk could also help to make your employees more organised as they’ll be able to find important files and documents more quickly and easily. This is bound to have a positive effect on their productivity levels, as well as making your premises look tidier to any visitors you have!
Jane Langof is a Feng Shui Master from Feng Shui Concepts, based in Sydney, Australia. She says: “In Feng Shui, we believe that your external environment affects your mood, psychology and luck. An uninspiring office space leads to a lack of creativity and procrastination, which is not very helpful if you have a long to-do list.
“A messy and cluttered office space contains scattered energy that affects your productivity and ability to think clearly, and a cluttered desk reflects a cluttered mind. Clutter causes blockages and creates stagnant energy, and removing obstacles created by clutter encourages energy to flow and enables people to think more clearly and be open to new opportunities.
“You’ll be amazed at how much more productive and focused you can be when your work environment is clutter free and well-organised. Remove stagnant energy by giving your work space a thorough clean.”
Providing your employees with wood desks is also beneficial in the workplace. As Morgan Lovell explains: “According to University conducted research, using natural-looking wooden surfaces in the workplace can positively enhance employee health and well-being. The study reveals offices that utilise one of the world’s oldest materials can promote similar physiological and psychological benefits to spending time amongst nature. Not only could it help boost work satisfaction, it can increase productivity, concentration, clarity, confidence and optimism amongst employees.
“Office Feng Shui is considerably enhanced when natural wooden surfaces are mixed with other biophilic elements, such as plants and natural light.”
John Linden, an interior designer at MirrorCoop, adds that “some well-crafted wood furniture could have great benefits for employee morale as it exudes a sense of permanence. Ultimately, wood furniture is a way to show your employees that you care about them and that they have a home at your company.”
Another way you can practice Feng Shui in the office is by considering the placement of workers’ desks, as well as the material they’re constructed from. Facing the wall or your workers having their backs to the wall are said to be the least beneficial placements; everyone in the room should be able to see the door, if possible. Additionally, because they’re Feng Shui elements, wood and metal are considered to be the best materials for desks.
The flow of positive chi can also be promoted by arranging your workspace in a specific way. According to the Bagua map, a space should be divided into nine sections, with each one representing a different area of your life. These are prosperity, reputation, love and relationships, family, heath (or mind, body, and spirit), creativity, wisdom, career, and helpful people and travel.
With that in mind, here are some tips to ‘Feng Shui your desk’ for optimum benefit in the workplace:
- You should place your laptop, a computer screen or even a well-cared for plant in the top left corner of your desk to attract wealth (particularly in terms of money).
- At the back of the desk (in the centre) represents fame and reputation, so this is a great place to your keep business cards and things that motivate you.
- Another area you should put objects that inspire you is to the right of your desk, in the centre. Because this is where you want to promote creativity, you could also place a notebook here.
- Place reference books and helpful files and documents on the bottom centre of your desk, as this is the part of the map that represents knowledge and wisdom.
- To attract helpful people, you should keep your phone and any contact numbers you need on the front right section of the desk.
- It is important to think about colour, Anthony Ashworth adds that “colour plays a big role in determining the energetic feel of an office space, and should be carefully considered, as a rule of thumb, some fire energy in the form of colours of reds & hot purples may be very useful to energise an office space. “
Karen Kertesz, Feng Shui Consultant at Emerald Space, adds the following tips for ensuring Feng Shui:
“Keep your drawer uncluttered and organised, and have what you need nearby to save time wandering around looking for things. Decorate your area minimally to help focus on only what you wish to bring into your workday and your life. if you need some extra energy, include a small desk plant or gentle fountain if you wish to energise and bring balance to a ‘dull’ space. Also, make sure the lighting is sufficient and consider covering your computer when turned off and not in use.
“Finally, focus on what counts. Place a happy photo of you and your loved one in the back right hand corner of your desk to hold your loving bond in place. Pictures of children are best on the right hand side of the desk, while networking and group member photographs can go on the left hand side. Display your certificates and achievements centrally at the back of your space, especially if you want so me extra recognition for your efforts at work.”
Patrica Lohan advises in her book, Feng Shui for Female Entrepreneurs, that clearing the clutter is one of the most important things to do to ensure Feng Shui. This is because clutter increases stress, causes a lack of focus and clarity, and you waste time looking for missing information or objects. She says: “Your ofﬁce and desk is the visual representation of your business. Tune in now and ask … how does it feel? If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of this question, take a deep breath and look around, see what you know is not necessary in your ofﬁce space, what is blocking your creativity and ﬂow into your business. It’s time to do a clear out and make space for new opportunities and make your ofﬁce reﬂect exactly how you want your business to grow and expand.”
Eva Lane from Anxious Relief, adds: “I recommend the following Feng Shui tips to reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace:
- Lots of natural light (light means there’s no room for darkness to grow and thrive)
- Indoor plants (plants absorb negative energy and release positive energy)
- Staff need their own space respected (when space is respected, people are less likely to feel defensive)”
Now that you know how to Feng Shui your desk, it’s time to get organising! Whether you believe in the practice or not, there’s no denying that a clean and tidy desk will help to clear your mind, which will no doubt boost your productivity.